Received today:

Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest Calls for Retirement of Chimpanzees to Sanctuaries, not Biomedical Labs

On Friday, September 21, 2012, Dr. Francis Collins, the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that 110 of the 563 research chimpanzees owned by the United States federal government will be “retiring” from biomedical research. This was first reported by the Washington Post and included this quote from Collins: “This is a significant step in winding down NIH’s investment in chimpanzee research based on the way science has evolved and our great sensitivity to the special nature of these remarkable animals, our closest relatives.”

While removing 110 chimpanzees from the controversial New Iberia Research Center sounds like a victory, there is a disturbing element to this story. Only 10 of the 110 chimpanzees in question will be going to a sanctuary. The other 100 will be transferred to Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio but will “not be used for research.”

Moving chimpanzees from one research laboratory to another does not constitute retirement, and we, along with our fellow members of the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance (NAPSA) and Project Release and Restitution, are calling for the NIH to send all 110 chimpanzees to a sanctuary whose mission is to provide permanent care in an enriched environment. It is not acceptable for the federal government to claim to be retiring chimpanzees, when in fact the chimpanzees will still be living at a biomedical research facility.

This move circumvents the system already set in place by the government to retire chimpanzees as mandated by the CHIMP Act, signed by President Clinton in 2000. Please read Chimp Haven’s statement and Project R&R’s Rulemaking Petition, co-signed by NAPSA, for more information on that system and the concerns about Collin’s announcement.

Please continue to support the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act (GAPCSA), which would outlaw the use of chimpanzees for biomedical experimentation in the US and would retire federally owned chimpanzees. Learn more about how to support GAPCSA from this recent alert by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.